Du Maurier's Jamaica Inn – played with an Irish lilt...
Television viewers hoping to see the windswept moors of Cornwall in the BBC's latest adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's Jamaica Inn are likely to be disappointed – because the series is being filmed in Northern Ireland.
The Fowey-based author's rum tale of romance, ripping bodices and roguery will be back on our screens later this year. But rather than Bolventor – where the Cornish adventure is set – programme makers have opted to make it in Belfast.
Set in the early 19th century, the novel has been a favourite with film-makers since it was published in 1936, with Alfred Hitchcock making the first screen version in 1939. The latest lavish three-part costume drama is being produced by Origin Pictures, whose hits to date include Hidden and The Awakening. No actors have yet been announced, but the BBC said the series is being adapted by Emma Frost, who recently worked on The White Queen.
Alex Gordon of Origin confirmed that it would be made in and around Belfast – not in Cornwall. The choice of location is likely to upset Daphne du Maurier fans all over the world.
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Cornish author and du Maurier admirer Jane Nancarrow said she welcomed the new screen adaptation, but questioned the decision to make it outside Cornwall. She also advised the BBC to engage local speech experts to avoid "cod-Cornish" accents.
"What I would say is even though it is not being filmed in Cornwall, which is such a shame, I hope the BBC make sure the actors do not have those terrible phoney Cornish accents so frequently used whenever Cornwall appears in a drama," she said. "After all, there is such a lot of acting talent in Cornwall that perhaps they should look here first."
Jane, whose novel Stones And Shadows is also set on Bodmin Moor, is no stranger to Jamaica Inn, having played one of the main characters for the first authorised stage version during the 1970s. "I played Mary Yellan for North Cornwall Theatre Company when Daphne du Maurier was still very much alive," she said. "Daphne was insistent that she wanted the play performed in Cornwall by a Cornish theatre company."
Jane, from Launceston, said she and the other actors were determined their production would have an authentic feel.
The story follows the fortunes of newly orphaned Mary Yellan, who arrives by carriage at Jamaica Inn, just west of Launceston, hoping to find solace with her Aunt Patience. But she soon discovers that behind its benign exterior, the hostelry is merely a front for a gang of cut-throats led by landlord Joss Merlyn and his thieving younger brother, Jem. From there, du Maurier's gothic tale of love and loss unfolds.
Origin Pictures said the three-parter is likely to be screened around Christmas.